The Good Lab
Spatial Organization and Size Scaling in Biology
Dept Cell and Development, UPENN SOM
Good, Matthew C.
The goal of our group is to understand how cell size and shape regulate cellular function, and how cell and organelle size becomes misregulated during disease. We use the lens of early embryo development, in which cellular dimensions are rapidly reduced after fertilization, to explore scaling relationships between cells and intracellular structures (e.g. the mitotic spindle). To characterize mechanisms of size-regulation we create synthetic, cell-like compartments with tunable geometry, combining cell-free cytoplasmic extracts and microfluidic droplet- and vesicle-generating technologies. This approach, which brings together tools from cell biology, chemistry and bioengineering, allows us to isolate the effects of cell size on intracellular assembly and function, free from constraints of a developmental program. Our broad aims are to investigate cell size as a control parameter, uncover adaptions required for intracellular processes to function in cells with extreme geometries, and develop new technologies for reconstituting complex cellular behaviors ex vivo.